Re: General Response
Mon, 31 May 1999 15:50:33 -0400 (EDT)

Brian Harper wrote:
Just a quick comment about Paracelcus defn. of IC. Behe's defn. is vastly better as the function of a system will always transcend that of its collected parts, else why call them parts? :)

An example. Water is irreducibly complex since surface tension, wetness, etc. are not to be found in the parts: oxygen and hydrogen.

My comments:
Thank you for making my case for me. Water is an excellent example of both the strict and the broad definitions of IC. By the strict definition, if water looses one its parts it can no longer function as water, which is true. By the broad definition, this means that the functions of wetness, surface tension, etc., are not properties bestowed by the parts themselves, but are properties that do not exist until the parts come to together to form the whole. In other words they transcend the simple collection of parts. A mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas does not have wetness, but when the gases combine to form water the new gaseous molecules have wetness. Wetness is not lost when a part is removed because that part bestowed wetness to the whole, but because to remove a part means destroying the whole that creates the function of wetness. It seems pretty obvious to me.
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